Council of the Week: Murton Parish Council
This week, we’re celebrating the work of Murton Parish Council, a former mining village in County Durham.
Murton is a fairly small parish with a precept of £279,000 and a population of just over 8000 people, represented by 16 councillors. We would like to congratulate the council on its recent achievements – following its shift in focus to prioritise best serving the people of Murton, providing good value for money and improving the facilities in the village.
It seems the council has achieved all three of these aims through its transformation of the former Miners Welfare Hall which it purchased from British Coal and turned into a modern, multipurpose community centre – now used by the public for educational, recreational, social and leisure purposes.
This is something the council is very proud of and which demonstrates its commitment to engaging with the community and working in partnership with Murton Welfare Association; a registered charity who run the facilities at the centre.
The council has been extremely pro-active in improving the local environment, securing funds from the Durham County Council Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, Groundwork East Durham and the War Memorial Trust to undertake significant improvement work, including repairing their freestanding war memorial. This success of this project has been recognised as the council received the County Durham Environment Award – a fantastic accolade and reward for their hard work.
Like many villages, Murton has run its own gardening initiative to give the village a positive identity. ‘Blooming Murton’ has been a great success, not only for improving the local environment, but also for bringing different generations together, with school children potting up plants and flowers and delivering them to elderly residents with the help of the council. The parish also works well in partnership with Durham County Council to maintain all of the shrub and flower beds in the village and on the upkeep of the large grassed areas and sports fields. There are no financial implications arising from this partnership, the successful outcome being achieved through a trade of staff, equipment and expertise.
More recently, the council has worked closed with County Councillors and a newly formed group of residents to come up with ideas for improving its Welfare Park. Various consultations took place with all age groups, culminating in an open day last October to choose what equipment the people wanted. Funding was sought and a new play area was installed including a disabled swing, skate park and outdoor exercise equipment for older people, using funds an Awards for All grant from the Lottery.
This year, the council has invested in a comprehensive summer programme for kids over the school holidays, working in partnership with a number of local organisations and volunteers to put on activities including cookery courses and teaching children about healthy eating. The council also has a fantastic calendar of events throughout the year, with competitions engaging all different age groups, a summer tea, popular Christmas tree lighting event and trips to nearby places such as Leeds and Scarborough.
The Chairman of the Council, Tom Pinkney said it has been hard work over the last few years securing funding for each of the projects and working in partnership with various organisations, but it is clear to see that all this work has paid off so we extend our congratulations to the him and his dedicated members and staff.